Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff

Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff


United States


Smart people talking about politics, policy, culture and other stuff




The Elon-SBF Connection (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

The (totally selfless) reasons Mickey wants an SBF clawback ... Did Semafor fumble its big SBF-Elon scoop? ... Mickey’s clawback campaign (cont’d) ... Origins of Mickey’s (alleged) Ben Smith vendetta revealed! ... Is Musk destroying his town square? ...


The Ethics of Black Identity (Glenn Loury, Reihan Salam, Kmele Foster, Shelby Steele & Robert Woodson)

What does “black identity” mean? ... Why Bob left the Civil Rights Movement ... Shelby: Our problem today is freedom, not racism ... Glenn: We can’t afford to give up on black collective goals ... Why Shelby wouldn’t sign a letter of support for Clarence Thomas ... Would freeing ourselves from race mean sacrificing collective action? ... The tactical efficacy of racial identification ... The struggle for human freedom ... Can we take pride in group achievements past? ... Kmele: We have a...


Dems in Array (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Why Katie Hobbs won ... Can Herschel Walker win? ... Where does Kari Lake go from here? ... Does Mike Pence have a shot? ... Is DeSantis better for democracy than Trump? ... Are Dems in array? ...


The Two Kinds of Empathy (Robert Wright & Paul Bloom)

Paul’s upcoming book, Psych: The Story of the Human Mind ... Bob’s upcoming book, tk ... Are psychopaths high in (cognitive) empathy? ... How good are we at perspective taking—and how can we get better? ... Elon Musk’s apparent cognitive empathy deficit ... Is cognitive empathy a biological adaptation? ... Is it even possible to understand the minds of others? ... Paul’s budding interest in perversity ...


Midterms, Missiles, and Musk (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Why Mickey’s not unhappy about the midterm results ... Can Trump go the distance against DeSantis? ... The Pelosi era ends ... Zelensky invites NATO to join the war ... Is a peace deal on the horizon in Ukraine? ... Elon update ... SBF's fall takes wind out of the sails of effective altruism movement ...


The Wake of the "Red Wave" (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

Glenn’s culinary dilemma ... Why the Republican Party depresses John ... What’s the difference between Herschel Walker and John Fetterman? ... Glenn’s argument for voting Republican ... Woke theater’s “melodramatic agitprop” ... Kanye, Kyrie, and the Jews ... What’s “systemic,” “structural,” or “institutional” about racism? ...


A Mastodon Explainer (Robert Wright & Harry McCracken)



Blue Checks and Red Ripples (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey mourns the fate of his midterm hopes and dreams ... What the midterm results mean for 2024 ... Who wins in a Trump v. DeSantis civil war? ... Bob’s plan to boot Biden from the 2024 ticket ... Will Musk chicken out on his blue check shake-up? ... The Twitter business model Musk may be banking on ... Parrot room preview: Ukraine update; more Twitter business model talk; Metaverse vibe check; Errol Morris’s Leary love story; questioning “blame Trump” midterm post-mortems; is America...


The Heterodox Docs of Rob Montz (Glenn Loury & Rob Montz)

The appeals of immigration restrictionism ... The 2013 Ray Kelly incident at Brown University ... Rob’s forthcoming documentary about James Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse ... The response to Rob’s Roland Fryer doc ... The response to Rob’s Roland Fryer doc ... Is there a “next Glenn Loury”? ... Glenn’s course on race and policing be required? ... Rob’s position on Trump ... DeSantis vs. Trump ... Rob’s love of ‘90s rap ...


What Red Wave? (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Who got it right? ... What happened to the "red wave"? ... What issues drove the election results? ... Is Trump dragging down the GOP, and would DeSantis help? ... What does the election mean for Biden '24? ...


Awakening to the Meaning Crisis (Robert Wright & John Vervaeke)

Signs of the so-called “meaning crisis” ... How John addresses the meaning crisis in his own life ... Bob gets empathy-circled—live! ... How much of the meaning crisis is a crisis of community? ... Wisdom as the antidote to self-deception ... Is technological change outpacing our ability to adapt? ... How and where might new sources of meaning emerge? ... The conundrum of collective intelligence (or how should we talk about demons?) ... Can video games give us meaning? ... John:...


Bull In a Twitter Shop (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Why immigration squishes have Mickey worried about the midterms ... Elon Musk’s bull-in-a-china-shop strategy to owning Twitter ... The conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi ... If Putin didn’t have nukes, would Biden’s Ukraine policy still be dangerous? ... Who is calling the shots in the Biden White House? ... Why Cold War psychology might have less sway over Musk-owned Twitter ... Bob has another baseball quiz for Mickey ... Could Biden’s tech embargo against China backfire...


The Golden Age of Black Heterodoxy (Glenn Loury & John McWhorter)

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death ... Earning credibility through self-discrediting disclosure ... The lionization of the lightweights ... The golden age of black heterodoxy ... The mainstreaming of Glenn and John ... Glenn’s debate with Shelby Steele, Robert Woodson, and Kmele Foster ... Are we ready to “get past race”? ... The strange case of Jessica Krug ... Darrell Brooks’s courtroom performance ...


Bill & Matt's Midterm Predictions (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

Senate predictions ... House predictions... and how do we know if it's a "wave"? ... Matt and Bill diverge on AZ-GOV ... Why did the Paul Pelosi conspiracy theory take off? ... Should Matt and Bill stay on Twitter? ...


Russia, Ukraine, and US Diplomacy (Robert Wright & Samuel Charap)

Sam’s Foreign Affairs piece on the importance of Ukraine diplomacy ... What’s Biden’s endgame in Ukraine? ... Sam: Russia has already suffered a strategic defeat ... Did the West play a role in Ukraine’s 2014 revolution? ... Putin says the West is Russia’s real enemy. Does he believe it? ... America’s lack of diplomatic urgency before Putin invaded ... How much pro-Russia sentiment is there in Ukraine? ...


Ukraine's Blank Check (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Mickey takes a bite out of midterm “overism” ... How revolutionary will Musk’s Twitter reign be? ... Who quashed the Progressive Caucus’s Ukraine letter? ... What’s holding up diplomacy in Ukraine? ... Is Blob opinion on the war starting to split? ... The cost of US hypocrisy ... The media’s weird coverage of the "dirty bomb" story ... Parrot room preview: implausible dirty bomb scenarios; UK PM’s dramatic early moves; a few words about the late Lucianne Goldberg; an (iffy) argument against...


Criminal (In)Justice (Glenn Loury & Rafael Mangual)

How Rafael came to the Manhattan Institute ... Rafael’s new book, Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most ... Is prison the right response to violent crime? ... Why Rafael believes in three-strikes-type sentencing guidelines ... Incarceration may lower crime, but is it just? ... Rafael: Defunding the police is an indefensible idea ... Should we worry about racial disparities in the non-deadly use of force by police? ... Why...


The Fetterman-Oz Debate (Bill Scher & Matt K. Lewis)

What was the Fetterman campaign thinking? ... Did Oz blow it on abortion? ... Is the Red Wave coming? ... Is Kari Lake running for president? ... Why did Rep. Jayapal release that Ukraine letter? ...


Is Outer Space the New Wild West? (Robert Wright & Douglas Ligor)

How worried should we be about the “Kessler Syndrome”? ... The nightmare scenario for anti-satellite weapons anarchy ... How an attack in space could trigger WWIII ... International law is way behind the curve in outer space ... Why isn’t the grave threat of space anarchy getting attention? ... How the new Cold War makes conflict in space more likely ...


Russian Retreat, Republican Surge (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)

Elon Musk’s esoteric insult of former Russian president Medvedev ... Russia’s “General Armageddon” gears up for retreat ... Is the GOP becoming the anti-war party? ... Mickey’s many midterms nightmares ... With Britain's Tories in shambles, will Boris rise again? ... Bob: US policy helped create the latest "axis of evil" ... Parrot Room preview: Did Bob mischaracterize Mearsheimer?; Kanye West and Elon Musk take over social media; Jon Meacham’s fears for US democracy; what lies beneath LA’s...